It’s not Goodfellas, it’s more like Boring-Fellas.
First off I should say that I am not a huge Scorsese fan. Some of his movie I enjoy, but do I love them with all my heart and soul? Not really. Is he a talented director? Oh yes, most certainly. Is The Irishman on Netflix a total and complete waste of 3 hours and 20 minutes?
Scorsese and Marvel
I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will, if you liked the movie, cool, tell me why because I’m curious. Are you going to change my mind? Probably not, but if you keep reading you’re realize that I recognize there was good in this movie. It’s simply that I never want to see it again, nor would I recommend it to others.
Scorsese is a brilliant director, and he has created some iconic movies. He has also recently come out acting like a petulant, jealous child regarding Marvel movies. He said in the NY Times that, “Cinema is an art form that brings you the unexpected. In superhero movies, nothing is at risk.” That statement makes me think that perhaps he hasn’t really seen any of the movies, because while that is somewhat true, anyone who has seen Endgame knows that not all the heros come to a perfect, storybook ending.
The Irishman is currently on Netflix. Image Credit: Netflix
What I Liked
The Marvel controversy aside, Scorsese is talented, and he has cultivated around him a stable of hugely talented actors, and one of the best parts of The Irishman is seeing actors like Harvey Keitel, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro on screen.
The Irishman has received rave reviews from critics, who think that at 209 minutes, “Not a minute of that is wasted” — to which I ask, what movie did you see?
But I digress, the acting was good. The actors were great, and the bones of the story were really interesting. That’s about all I can say in terms of what I enjoyed.
Why Did I Dislike It?
I disliked that the film used women like props. The women characters barely spoke, and if they did it was to ask to smoke a cigarette or praise one of the male characters.
Even De Niro’s daughter in the film, a relationship his character seemed to really find important, and also who is played by Anna Paquin, involved less than 20 words in 209 minutes of film. Why hire such a famous actress to do so little?
CNN, in an article where De Niro defends Paquin’s role, says that, “The actress speaks just seven words in the three and a half hour long Netflix film directed by Martin Scorsese.”
As a woman who enjoys seeing strong female characters, I have a really low tolerance for films that treat women as unimportant. Especially someone like Scorsese, who has had really strong female characters in his other films.
I love a long movie, I love being able to spend as much time as possible with a character. But that time spent needs to make sense and have a point. I felt as though The Irishman was rambling, pointless, and often I wasn’t quite sure if we were in past, present, or future.
And that point comes down to decideing to take older actors and try and de-age them rather than hiring younger actors to play their younger selves. I’m sorry, but a 70 something year old man movies like a 70 something year old man. Putting a young face on him doesn’t change that. Watching De Niro try to beat up another man as his younger self was painful and awkward.
Scorcese, Pacino and De Niro. Image Credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
I’m Not a Film Maker
I am, however, a creative person who likes to enjoy creative material. I also know what I like.
The Irishman was a lot of the same old, same old that we’ve seen from Scorsese in the past, just not as good as some of his other films. It seems like Netflix told him, “Do whatever you want,” and he did.
Unfortunately, that restulted in a movie that I watched with excitement at first, and growing sadness by the end as I realized that this movie was not made for me. It was a massive disappointment that felt dated and old-fashioned, and not in the ways that I like.
Instead, it felt like a throwback to an era where women took a back seat, an we are asked to sympathize with a very unsympathetic character.
I suppose ultimately, I don’t like feeling as though I am being forced to feel bad for someone who (spolier alert) ends up dying sad and alone because he lived a terrible life and made bad decisions.
The Irishman isn’t for me, and I openly acknowledge that many, many others really enjoyed the film. I never really wish ill will to any creator, even if they are globally famous. I’m glad people are getting enjoyment out of it, I, however, wish I could get those three plus hours back.
What did you think of The Irishman?